US bets on climate friendly farming, plan raises doubts

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President Joe Biden’s administration is incentivizing farmers to adopt practices that store carbon in the soil to combat climate change. However, interviews with soil science experts and a review of U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) research suggest doubts regarding the effectiveness of this approach. The USDA aims to reduce agriculture’s 10% contribution to U.S. greenhouse gas emissions by implementing farm practices such as planting cover crops and reducing tilling.

These techniques, which are crucial to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, are also expected to help ethanol producers qualify for tax credits for sustainable aviation fuel under the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). Despite the additional funding boost from Biden’s climate law, some soil scientists question whether these practices will permanently sequester significant amounts of atmospheric carbon in the soil.

While some experts acknowledge that these practices can store varying amounts of soil carbon, the duration and effectiveness depend on specific circumstances. The USDA and other soil scientists suggest that factors such as soil type and environmental conditions play a significant role in determining the long-term impact of carbon storage techniques.

Source: Reuters

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